I'm Terry Odell, and I'll be leading what I hope is an open discussion of Indie Publishing over the next week or two. I've published 12 novels in the mystery and romantic suspense genres, as well as a number of contemporary romance short stories. I've had small press traditional publishers, digital first e-publishers, and some original titles that I've indie published.
I want to start with some basic definitions, and a little history. The term "indie" publishing is relatively new, partly due to the stigma attached to the term "self" publishing. It used to be if you published a book yourself, you probably went with a "vanity" press, and paid to have your book published. Then, with the advent of e-books, self-published books bore the stigma of slapdash writing and little or no editing. Even now, indie published books are still the red-headed stepchildren of publishing. Many professional writing organizations refuse to recognize a self-published book as a qualification for membership.
Indie publishing is NOT e-publishing, although many indie publishers choose to create only e-books. But traditional publishers may produce print books as well as digital versions. Some publishers are digital-first, and they focus on e-books, but do offer print versions, generally via a POD (Print On Demand) press. Then, there are digital-only publishers that don't bother with print books. As an indie publisher, you have the choice of creating your books in digital, print, or both.
When I first started writing, e-publishing was relatively new. There was no such thing as a Kindle, a Sony, or a Nook reader. People read e-books on their computers, their PDAs, or maybe they had an early e-reader, but choices were severely limited.
Back then, if I told someone I was a writer and had 3 books published, if they weren't available at the brick and mortar store, I got a smile and a, "Tell me when you write a real book." Then the Kindle happened, and its competitors shortly thereafter. Suddenly, a best-selling author had books that were in the brick and mortar store AND in a digital bookstore. If you could buy Nora Roberts in e-book, then maybe there were some 'real' books out there.
And all of a sudden, doors opened for individuals to publish and sell their own books at places like Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Opportunities abounded. J.A. Konrath was one of the pioneers of indie publishing. He took his back list titles and made a fortune selling them as indie published ebooks. However, if there's one thing we're learning about publishing, it's that it's moving at breakneck speed—only trouble is, nobody know where it's going.
During this seminar, I'll be looking at pros and cons of indie publishing, what you'll need to do if you decide to go indie, your options, and some of the dangers.
If there's anything you want to see covered, or anything you want to share about your own experiences, please leave them in the comments. I don't for a minute think I know everything—and even if I did, it would all change tomorrow!
I'll be back on Wednesday with more. Hope to see you then.
For more about me and my books, check out my website, http://terryodell.com